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NJ Traffic Ticket - Tinted Windows on the way out

Posted by Britt Simon on Dec 10 2014

Quite interestingly a Police Department has taken a position that they will ignore the decision of a Superior Court Judge.   This conduct is ripe for a takeover by the County Prosecutor due to the Police Chief's blatant misconduct.  In short, the Chief has said that he does not care what the law (interpreted by a Superior Court Judge) says.  Instead this Police Chief intends to disregard the law as he sees fit. 

That being said, this is the one time that I must say, for the protection and safety of the officers, darkly tinted windows can create a risk.  Most drivers are not criminals however, how can an officer at night tell if the occupant of a vehicle is holding a weapon as he approaches.  Courts have found that in a motor vehicle, the right to privacy is greatly reduced.  As such, without a good purpose or medical need, dark tinting is a bad idea and causes a heightened sense of pending threat to officers which in turn only makes opportunity for bad things to happen. 

A final footnote though, if the township wants to write tickets like this, they need to purchase the equipment that shows the violation.

Contact a NJ Traffic Attorney today for your free consultation for your NJ Traffic Ticket by calling our toll-free number 800-709-1131.

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Are tinted-window tickets enforceable? Roxbury chief says yes, after judge tosses one out

By Louis C. Hochman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
on December 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM, updated December 10, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Police Chief James Simonetti says he won't have his officers stop issuing tickets for tinted windows, even after a judge said recently the town had no way to test whether a driver was violating the law.

Superior Court Judge James Demarzo stopped short of invalidating New Jersey's statute restricting safety glass for most drivers when he found open-records activist James Wolosky innocent of the offense in October, according to

But the judge did say Roxbury didn't have any way to test whether the tinting on Wolosky's windows during an April 13 stop caused "undue or unsafe distortion of visibility."

"I won't be telling my officers not to issue a summons," Simonetti told NJ Advance Media. "If they feel a summons is warranted for someone with tinted windows, then that's what they're going to do."

But Wolosky's not relenting either. The Sparta resident has been placing Open Public Records Act requests for all tinted-window tickets weekly since the decision. Wolosky said he's been in touch with attorneys interested in representing people receiving those tickets, hoping to use his court victory as a precedent for their own.

It feels like maybe the police department isn't getting the point," Wolosky said. He did say, however, Roxbury had often been issuing 10-15 tickets a week in recent years, and the number seemed to dip to a few less since his case.

Wolosky's ticket came after he was pulled over by Sgt. Steven Catalano in his 2000 gray Nissan Altima on Route 46, the morning of Aprl 13. He was given a $54 ticket for allegedly violating statute 39:3-75, which deals with "safety glass."

But that statute doesn't specify any hard limits on the amount of tinting — it doesn't say how dark is too dark.

It does say, however, "No person shall drive any motor vehicle equipped with safety glazing material which causes undue or unsafe distortion of visibility or equipped with unduly fractured, discolored or deteriorated safety glazing material, and the director may revoke the registration of any such vehicle."

A subsection makes allowances for people with certain medical conditions that need protection from glare — which Simonetti said his officers take into account when they pull drivers over.

"As Mr. Wolosky noted numerous times, nowhere does the statute state that it is unlawful to drive a vehicle with tinted windows," the firm Pashman Stein PC wrote in its appeal of a June 12 municipal hearing at which Wolosky was found guilty of violating the statute.

The firm argued the was no evidence the tinting on Wolosky's windows caused a safety problem — and that even if all tinting is banned, the statute was too vague o be applied.

Demarzo, in his ruling, cited the New Jersey Administrative Code, which says light passing through the windows can't be reduced past 60 percent — though that hadn't been a factor in the arguments either side of the case made. He said Roxbury didn't prove beyond reasonable doubt that Wolosky's windows were that dark.

The judge didn't address whether the statute was unconstitutionally vague, as Wolosky contended.

"I don't want to throw the judge under the bus, but he could have been a maverick and ruled on the constitutionality of the statute," Wolosky said. "But I've learned when a judge is talking and speaking in your favor, you shut up."

Simonetti said he doesn't believe his officer erred in issuing a summons.

"I feel there's a purpose for not having tinted windows — it's an officer safety factor," Simonetti said. "Even light tinting can make it very hard to see into a window as an officer approaches."

Wolosky rejects that argument, saying motor-vehicle laws are intended "for the driver, not the police" — and that it's just as hard to see into a window at night.

Simonetti also points to another statute, 39:3-74 — which requires windshields to be unobstructed and equipped with cleaning devices, such as wipers. It bars "any sign, poster, sticker or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, wings, deflectors, side shields, corner lights adjoining windshield or front side windows of such vehicle other than a certificate or other article required to be so displayed by statute or by regulations of the commissioner."

However, Woloksy's ticket didn't cite that law.

Wolosky noted the "safety glass" law was last updated in 1949 — "and I don't even know what kind of cars they had back then." He said it's "just irrelevant for today's society."

Simonetti noted the law's age as well, saying "this has been the law since way back when our grandparents were driving cars."

The chief said he wasn't aware of any further pushback on the legal issues surrounding tinted windows since Wolosky's case. For Wolosky's part, he's not sure what he'll do with the copies of summonses he's receiving through public records requests — reaching out to each driver could be time-consuming and costly, and not necessarily welcome, he said.

"This is just a cottage industry for them, to pull over people with tinted windows," Wolosky said.

Contact a NJ Traffic Lawyer today for your free consultation for your NJ Traffic Ticket by calling our toll-free number 800-709-1131.

Topics: Traffic Violations

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